This quiet park on the edge of the small settlement of Blinkbonny near Currie, consists of a plantation, possibly a Millennium Wood, around a central grassy area. At the edge of the grass there is a small granite pillar in the middle of a circle of flat sandstone slabs, perhaps symbolising a millwheel from the nearby Water of Leith. Somehow the meeting lasted for four hours instead of two, and the bad weather promised by the BBC must have gone elsewhere as there was warm sunshine when we eventually departed.
The park appears to have had a former existence as a dump for coal ash, into which the local badgers have tunnelled extensively. The main risk of injury was probably from stumbling into one of the many entrances to their sets. In happy contrast to most of the local parks around Edinburgh we found no evidence of dog fouling, and the ground vegetation seemed untrampled, badger paths excepted.
Much of the bryological interest is in the epiphytes growing on the ash and field maple trees, and many locally common species were present, including a healthy population of Radula complanata. A short stretch of path around the grass area had been tidied since an earlier visit, resulting in the loss of Pohlia wahlenbergii; this was one of only two species found on preliminary visits but not seen today. However the loss of one Pohlia was more than compensated by Carolyn’s discovery of another one, Pohlia drummondii, which was growing between concrete slabs under a picnic table.
On the flat sandstone slabs were the now ubiquitous Lophocolea semiteres and L. bidentata, along with a thallose liverwort which we tentatively identified as Aneura pinguis; there were also sprawling patches of Cratoneuron filicinum. The path edges, where not tidied, had a variety of minute acrocarpous mosses and it was here that we found our last moss of the day, Bryum argenteum. The meeting ended with the five of us around a picnic table going through some of the day’s finds.
David Adamson, April 2023